If you’re a seasoned traveler, you’ll understand the importance of efficient packing. Too many people leave packing for a vacation until the last minute. The result? Unnecessary stress, creased clothing, and a complete lack of organization.
While there’s something of a science behind packing well, you don’t need a degree to pull it off. A little bit of planning and a dash of decisiveness is all you need to trim the fat and ensure you’re only traveling with what you really require.
Had enough of last-minute packing sessions? Read on for some essential travel packing tips to make your next vacation go without a hitch.
How to Pack Efficiently for Your Next Trip
Before you start thinking about space-saving hacks, you’ll need to be putting together those packing lists. Ideally, aim to start drafting your list a month or so before your departure date. This way, you’ll have ample time to stock up on anything you think you might need. What’s more, you can check the back of your closets for untouched items that have yet to see the light of day.
Fold and Roll Clothes to Save Space in Luggage
If you’ve ever left it until the last minute to pack for a vacation, you’ve probably been guilty of stuffing items into available space. Aside from being a pretty disorganized way to prepare for a trip, it eats up unnecessary space.
To maximize space and free up your suitcase for all those essentials, think about how you’re actually folding your clothes. If you’re only taking a few outfits with you, you should have plenty of room to fold your pieces neatly. However, if you need to pack for two weeks or longer, you’ll need to be more creative with your approach.
Rolling clothes is a great space-saving idea. When you roll clothes, trapped air beneath all those folds is pushed out. What’s more, if you’re rolling clothes that have already been ironed, you won’t have to worry about unsightly creases and wrinkles once you arrive at your destination.
However, perfecting the art of rolling takes practice. What’s more, it’s not the best idea for heavy items or wrinkle-prone fabrics like cotton and linen.
Use a Lightweight Suitcase
Looking to lighten the load? Before you start packing, consider whether the bag you’re using is going to tip the luggage scale in the wrong direction. Hard shell suitcases might seem like a good bet for bulky items, but these bulky designs can be often as heavy as the clothes and accessories you’ve packed.
To make your life easier, go with a lighter suitcase instead. The Hulken is the obvious choice here. With its generous interior, you’ll have no trouble finding a place for all those personal items and travel essentials. Although it can carry 66 pounds (around kilos), the bag itself is remarkably lightweight, meaning you won’t have to worry about eating into your luggage allowance.
This is way the Hulken should be your new go-to bag. It is so versatile that is makes the perfect foldable grocery bag, wheeled tote bag for work, foldable laundry basket, and even shopping bag with wheels.
Leave Half the Clothing You’ve Packed at Home
So you’ve spent hours working through your packing list. You’ve picked out multiple outfits for every day and thrown in a few spares for good measure. Before you reach for the zipper and consider the job done, take a step back and consider how many of those garments you’ll actually need.
In reality, you probably won’t even get through half of the clothing you’ve stuffed into your suitcase. It’s nice to have the odd spare shirt or accessory for an emergency, but all that extra stuff isn’t just going to weigh you down. Think about the hassle of having to unpack and sort all those items once you’ve arrived at your destination, never mind actually schlepping through the airport with them.
In the unlikely event you have forgotten something, you can always buy a replacement on your vacation.
Use Zip Lock and Plastic Bags for Storage
You don’t need to spend a small fortune on suitcase dividers and pouches to pack efficiently. In fact, a humble zip lock bag is all that’s required. Plastic bags are perfect for helping you stay organized. You can use them to store all manner of smaller items. Because they’re transparent, you’ll know exactly where everything is, saving you from having to dump out the entire contents onto a hotel bed. Use them for those small items you need to access quickly. They’re great for keeping first aid kit essentials close to hand, while larger bags can be used to store dirty clothes while you’re on vacation.
What’s more, zip lock bags protect your packed items from damage. Have you packed toiletries and liquids in your suitcase? While it’s easy to keep an eye on your carry-on luggage, there’s no guarantee when it comes to checked luggage.
Don’t Waste Luggage Space
The cost of international travel is expensive. Even a domestic flight or train ticket can put a serious dent in your bank balance. If you’ve paid a premium for extra baggage allowance, you don’t want to be wasting precious suitcase space.
Avoid filling up your bags with non-essential items you don’t need. Like to have a water bottle to hand? Save this one for your carry-on bag. Dealing with a drugstore’s worth of toiletries? Think about decanting full bottles into travel-friendly ones. If you’ve booked a stay at a decent hotel, you probably don’t need half of what you’ve packed. Shampoos, conditioners, and shower caps are usually provided.
Reduce Shoes in Your Luggage
Footwear takes up a considerable amount of luggage space. While you’ll need to pack shoes for any trip, they can’t be folded or rolled like clothing and towels. As with your garments, you need to be pretty cut-throat when it comes to whittling down the shoes you actually need for your vacation.
Most travelers stick with three pairs. Choose a comfortable and functional pair you can wear while traveling, along with a second pair for contingencies. If you plan on enjoying evenings out while you’re away, you’ll also need something a little fancier. Sandals are a little more luggage-friendly, so you can consider adding an extra pair or two of these to your suitcase.
Keep Similar Items Together
Packing and unpacking can prove incredibly stressful. If your suitcase isn’t organized, you’re setting yourself up for an unnecessary headache. You might find yourself stopped by aviation officials for a random baggage check. In this scenario, you’ll want to be able to sort through and show your items in moments, rather than minutes.
Grouping similar items together lets you stay on top of suitcase organization. Make use of internal compartments if your bag of choice has them. If not, you can use storage organizers like packing cubes to bring a little order to those luggage interiors.
Wear Your Heaviest Clothes on the Plane
Excess baggage fees might not seem like a big deal, but if you underestimate what you’ve packed, it can take a sizable bite out of your travel budget. Wearing your heaviest clothes on the plane is an easy way to ensure you don’t tip the luggage scales when checking in your bags.
It might seem like a comfortable way to travel but don’t forget, you can always remove that jacket or extra layer once you’ve found your seat and settled in for the long haul.
What Are the 5 Suitcase Packing Methods?
This is one of the best ways to save on space and make the most of limited suitcase space. To start, lay your clothing out on a flat surface. Next, create a pocket at one end, before rolling in the garment from the other side. Once you’ve created a tight tube of fabric, you can pack clothes neatly away. It works particularly well with t-shirts and dresses. However, you’re better off folding heavier items like outerwear and denim.
If you struggle to stay organized, the bundling packing method is worth trying out. If you’ve been planning for a vacation, you probably have a good idea of the kinds of outfits you want to wear. The bundling method keeps these outfit sets together. Pick out the smallest outfit items first. For most people, this will be underwear. Then, wrap the next biggest piece, such as a t-shirt, around them. Then, you’ll wrap pants or a skirt around the ever-growing bundle. Once you’ve checked in at your hotel, you’ll have ready access to instant outfits.
The wrapping method is something to consider if you’re planning on traveling with bigger garments. It’s ideal if you’re looking to pack long and loose garments, such as dresses or maxi skirts. Start by layering out your biggest items at the bottom of your suitcase, leaving the fabric trailing over the edges. Then, start placing other items on the top. Keep layering until you’ve filled your bag with everything you need. You can then fold in those loose edges and zip up your case. If you’ve been careful when layering in all those items, you shouldn’t have to deal with any creases.
Planning a winter getaway? Whether you’re heading out on a ski trip or simply traveling to colder climes, you’ll probably be traveling with bulkier items. Things like ski gear and winter coats can take up a huge amount of valuable luggage space. Thankfully, compression bags can be used to free up essential suitcase space. Load up a compression bag with those bulky items, then roll them to force any excess air out.
If you have more space to work with, investing in a packing cube set is a good idea. Technically, these won’t provide you with any additional space, but they can be a godsend when it comes to organization. They’re handy for keeping similar items together, while they can provide your expensive garments with an extra layer of protection if you’re mixing up apparel and toiletries.
What Are Some Things I Don’t Need to Pack?
Jewelry and Valuables
Expensive and fragile items like jewelry should be avoided when packing. If you’re desperate to take a beloved necklace or bracelet with you on vacation, consider wearing this for the flight. It’s tempting to tuck these away in a discreet pouch in your suitcase, but there’s no guarantee they won’t get lost in transit.
Many packing lists prioritize extra toiletries. However, this is one area where you can cut some corners. Consider how much shampoo or mouthwash you actually get through in a week. It makes sense to take a little more than usual to cover all bases, but there’s no need to go overboard and take a month’s supply with you. If you’ve forgotten something or need extra supplies, you can buy these at your destination.
More Than One Pair of Jeans
Even if you’re a jeans person, there’s no need to pack more than one or two pairs. Denim is one of the most durable fabrics around and is relatively easy to spot clean. The occasional stain or blemish can be cleaned away in seconds, without you having to reach for a fresh pair. Good-quality denim is heavy, so if you’re serious about packing light, keep it to a minimum.
As with toiletries, many people seem to think they can never have enough towels when heading off on vacation. If you’re staying in a hotel, remember that fresh ones are available upon request. If you can’t bear the thought of traveling without a backup, stick to lightweight hand towels. Bulky bath sheets are a definite no-no.
What Should I Ask Myself Before Packing For a Trip?
Before you start filling your suitcase with clothes and travel essentials, lay out everything you need on the floor or a table. Next, take stock of every last item. Ask yourself whether each item is actually essential, or you’re packing it for some unlikely emergency. When it comes to footwear and clothing, consider whether the items are actually comfortable. If those kitten heels pinch, you’re probably only going to wear them for an hour before calling it quits and switching to a pair of easy-to-wear flats.
Remember, every square inch of that suitcase needs to be utilized. While things like packing cubes can be useful, these organizers aren’t always the best way to make effective use of luggage space.
As for toiletries and perishable items, think about whether it’ll be easier to simply buy them when you get to where you’re going. First time traveling to a new location? If there’s any uncertainty about what you’ll actually need, seek out advice online from more experienced travelers.
Looking to Take the Hassle Out of Traveling?
If you want to take all of the effort out of packing for a trip, it’s time to ditch your usual suitcase and invest in a travel bag with wheels that’s ready to go when you are. The Hulken rolling tote is one of the most user-friendly travel companions on the market. Designed with convenience in mind, this hard-wearing tote is guaranteed to become a firm favorite.
Heading out on a road trip or weekend getaway? This spacious tote has all the room you’ll ever need for your favorite outfits and must-have accessories. You can even use it as a carry-on bag if you’re flying internationally. With stainless steel wheels, this bag glides like a dream across most surfaces, making it the perfect pick for last-minute dashes to the departure gate. Why not explore the full Hulken range today?